What is the Montessori approach?

The Montessori approach is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Dr. Maria Montessori. The theories and principles developed by Dr. Montessori focus on giving children the opportunity to explore and develop at their own level of ability and according to their own unique needs and interests. Dr. Montessori believed that teachers do not teach. Instead, they guide and create an environment of calm, order, and joy. Montessori guides know when to intervene, observe, and step back, allowing the person to experience the moment.

Researchers have developed programs for adults with cognitive loss based on Dr. Montessori’s focus on engagement in life and living with meaning and purpose. These programs have been proven to enrich the lives of people with dementia by helping them to engage in daily roles, routines, and activities of daily living. Montessori activities are meant to be self-directed, hands-on, and collaborative. Using Montessori principles in dementia care focuses on seeing the person’s abilities rather than their deficits. Activities can be broken down into steps that are accessible to the person with dementia, allowing the person to be as independent as possible in all aspects of life.

Creative Connections™ in Dementia Care by Rev. Katie Norris and Jennifer Brush, M.A., CCC-SLP
Montessori-Based Activities for Persons with Dementia, Volume 1 by Cameron J. Camp, Ph.D.